C5 - Boosting gender equality in research

Day 2 at 11:00 - Boosting gender equality in research
Day Day 2
Session C
Start time 11:00

Researcher developers

Code C5

Dr Sonja Reiland, Project Manager of LIBRA, Centre for Genomic Regulation

Dr Laura Norton, Athena SWAN manager and LIBRA GEP team leader, The Babraham Institute

Dr Natalia Dave Coll, Project Manager of LIBRA, Centre for Genomic Regulation

Workshop overview: 

The H2020-funded collaborative project LIBRA (eu-libra.eu), comprising 13 research centres (from 13 different European countries) and a gender expert organisation, promotes gender equality in research. Based on initial assessments, LIBRA partner institutions have developed tailored Gender Equality Plans (GEPs) to address gender gaps in leadership positions and thus, boost gender equality through all stages of the scientific career. 

Here, we will share our comprehensive tools to diagnose gender equality in research institutions by analysing gender-specific indicators, policies and procedures, as well as unconscious bias (by all genders). We will present results obtained through the assessment of LIBRA partners, how they are used to support institutional changes, as well as diverse real-life examples of institutional GEPs. 

The workshop is a mix of interactive sessions using smartphones to participate in real-time audience polling, and presentations based on our experiences and the current results of LIBRA.  

Presentations will cover:

  • LIBRA’s staff perception on the work-life balance, career development, and sex/gender dimension of research: Data from research institutes across Europe, including the UK
  • Analysis of Implicit Bias of staff at LIBRA partner institutes.  
  • Data on LIBRA partner assessment reports. What are the main challenges in different countries? 
  • Gender Equality Plan development strategies. Concrete examples from LIBRA partners and specifically from the UK partner, The Babraham Institute.

During the presentations we will conduct a number of participant polls:

  • Capturing the participants’ personal perception of WLB, Career development, recruitment and Sex/Gender dimension. 
  • Capturing Implicit Bias of Participants towards Gender &Career and Gender&Science. 
  • Gender Equality in practice. What works in practice? Collecting key actions for increasing women in leadership positions. 

Depending on the outcome of the workshop LIBRA is considering publishing a conference proceeding analysing collected data and presenting them as case studies and maybe even success stories. All participants will be asked to give an informed consent before participating to the polls. 

Workshop topics covered: 

  • Comprehensive assessment of gender inequality at research institutions
  • Challenges to assess gender inequality
  • Main areas that academic institutions should address to counteract gender inequality:
  1. Assessing and raising awareness of gender bias
  2. Best practice and guidelines for recruiting to minimizing gender biases
  3. Supporting career development for young scientists; importance of role models
  4. Changing institutional culture to improve the work-life balance (WLB) 
  • Development of Gender Equality Plans (GEPs)
  • Why sex and gender dimension of research matters for gender equality  Implementation of GEPs: Institutional changes at research institutions and engaging the staff involved in the implementation.

Themes covered:

  • Developing a pipeline of research talent, including widening participation, strategies to attract and retain research talent, and approaches to mainstreaming equality and diversity for researchers in the research environment

Workshop outcomes: 

The workshop will enable participants to:

  • learn about LIBRA results analysing Gender Equality in 10 research institutes in 10 different countries
  • learn about strategies and tools how to assess gender inequality in their institutions
  • chose from an inventory of activities to improve gender balance and equality at their institution
  • tailor a Gender Equality Plan (GEP) for their institution, based on a provided template
  • identify potential pitfalls when developing and implementing a GEP
  • contribute to a workshop proceeding publication presenting case studies and success stories. 


Information, interaction and discussion. Participants should also be prepared to share examples of how they perceive gender imbalance in their institution and discuss the on-going actions to improve it and which are still missing.